Drawing on a trove of private papers from Hillary Clinton’s best friend, the legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein is going to publish a hard-hitting and intimate portrait of the 2008 presidential candidate, which will reveal a number of "discrepancies" in her official story.

Bernstein, who was played by Dustin Hoffman in the film "All the President’s Men," has spent eight years researching the unauthorized 640-page biography, "A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton."

“Bernstein reaches conclusions that stand in opposition to what Senator Clinton has said in the past and has written in the past,” said Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Knopf, which publishes the book on June 19.

With the thoroughness for which he is famous, Bernstein spoke to more than 200 of Clinton’s friends, colleagues and adversaries. He stops short of accusing the New York senator of blatantly lying about her past, but has unearthed examples of where she has played fast and loose with the facts about her “personal and political life”, according to Knopf.

The book could revive the explosive charge, made earlier this year by David Geffen, a former Clinton donor and Hollywood mogul, that “the Clintons lie with such ease, it’s troubling”.

Clinton remains the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, but Barack Obama, who is keeping pace with her fundraising juggernaut, is closing the gap in the polls.

The Sunday Times has learnt that Bernstein has been given unprecedented access to the private papers of Diane Blair, Clinton’s closest friend and confidante, who died of lung cancer aged 61 in 2000. The collection is still being sorted at the University of Arkansas library and is not yet available to the public.

Bernstein has been delving through Blair’s copious records of the 1992 presidential election campaign, which could offer tantalizing insight into Bill Clinton’s war machine and Hillary’s reaction to news of her husband’s dalliance with the nightclub singer Gennifer Flowers in Arkansas.

Hillary denied all knowledge of the affair, but one writer who has followed her career closely said: “She always knew about her.” He added: “Anyone who has approached the subject of Hillary Clinton with a clear eye will run across many examples of stories that are not true.”

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